The President is in town

The President of the United States of America Barack Hussein Obama is in Saudi Arabia for the next couple of days. This past week I thought it would be fitting if some of my readers shared with us thoughts on Mr. Obama. The question I put to them was how they would rate Obama’s two terms as President. The response from Saudis and expatriates as expected was diverse.

Sikander, a retired businessman currently residing in Cairo, said: “I think his two terms at the best were tame, bordering on failure and he was not very effective. Most of what he promised during his campaign remained unfulfilled.”

Hussein, tariqa Saudi oil industry executive and a consultant on solar energy, feels differently. He says: “I believe, Obama served the USA to the best level he could. He worked hard to serve the American people, the taxpayers; the reason he was hated by the Zionist Jews. The Iranian deal is an example. Obama avoided wars that are against the interests of the people of America. I do respect the man. His failures on some domestic issues indicate clearly that America is hijacked.”

Khaled, a Saudi who runs a business in aviation support out of Riyadh, added: “In the early beginning of Obama’s first term I had a strong belief that he was elected to be a reset button for American diplomacy in the eyes of other countries due to the big damage caused by idiot Bush. So they bring a black president with so-called Islamic roots to show how democracy in the US is very effective and transparent not having any discrimination against religion or race.

I tried to explain to my friends that American foreign policy is not a one-man show like in Arab countries but could not convince them. Now after almost eight years gone, it proves that I was right. Obama, in my opinion, only won one achievement when he was forced to resume normal relations with Cuba, but his so-called policy and administration failed in making peace in the Middle East, (damaged Iraq and Syria royally), accepted the nuclear program of Iran, and did not close Guantanamo. Literally, his own country’s health program is the worst among leading countries, and Israel is still playing around creating more terrorism and hate against his country, leaving the field for other players like Russia and so many other things. For all the above, I strongly believe the US is declining toward the worst if there is no seriousness in considering their critical position especially if another leader is elected like Trump.”

Tracy, a long-term Kingdom resident who hails from the UK and who runs a popular blog site (expatsinSaudiArabia), said: “I feel Obama has been an excellent president for all Americans; he was expected to improve just the rights of African-Americans, but he proved to be a man of all the people. The fact that he passed health reform that five presidents before him failed to achieve means 32 million previously uninsured Americans now have health care. I think this will be his main success. He’s achieved so much in his time in office against all the racism aimed at him and his family who have handled it all with dignity.”

Ali, who manages a human rights organization, brusquely put it: “He put Arabs in charge of their wars instead of having Americans die for absolute dictators and lethal ideology that threatens all democratic societies.”
Ben, a Saudi pilot, said: “The first ever minority colored president has discolored America’s face with his blurred vision! The disappointment with his mismanagement is universal; a man willing very much to talk without the walk, unwilling more than hesitant to contest foe or endure any hardship not even to hold up to friends and allies, not because of any disability but to live up to his mirage-like fantasy in hoping to reserve a place among the historic US leaders. The Syrian catastrophe will mirror his stigma.”

Dania, a Saudi female managing a charitable organization, said of Obama’s Presidency: “Amazing! No wars! America was peaceful again. I was comfortable visiting America again after a decade.”

Ehsan, a Pakistani who has made it his lifelong ambition to repatriate stranded Pakistanis from Bangladesh, felt that Obama scored well in: “Withdrawing from Afghanistan, visiting Cuba and softening his attitude toward Muslims when he visited mosques and stood up against Trump.” On the minus side, Ehsan adds: “He failed in major reforms in the US including medical. He has gone too far in making a deal with Iran without realizing Iran’s role in the Middle East; arming India to confront Pakistan (with the dream of confronting China); failing to play any role in solving the issues of Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Kashmir, the Burmese Muslims, etc. Here, also the OIC has failed. Even today, the main aim of the US is to protect Israel and whatever it does. There is no reaction to Israel’s building of illegal settlements on Palestinian lands.”

Lamia, a Saudi female in Jeddah who said she never really understood politics, had this to say: “I feel I am not qualified enough to give thoughts and opinions about it. Yet, as a humble private person, I felt comfortable with President Obama during his two terms, compared to the previous president Mr. Bush.”

Jose, a senior Indian journalist currently operating out of Delhi remarks: “Undoubtedly, it was a successful presidency. He took over the reins when the world economy was shattering in 2008. He reached out to the Middle East and pulled out the forces from there as promised. He admitted that Libya was a failure. He destabilized Al-Qaeda and killed Bin Laden. Another success at the fag end of his rule is reestablishing ties with Cuba after 54 years of hostility. This Nobel laureate would have contested another term if the US statutes had provision for the same. The first African-American and a man with a Muslim background to be elected to the post considered to be one of the world’s most powerful. He is also the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military.”

And finally from Hana living with her husband in Jeddah: “I think Obama has done a good job. The USA did not start any unnecessary wars and has pulled back from Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also done his best to maintain good relationships with Saudi Arabia. As Vladimir Putin said: ‘Obama has worked very hard and has been a very decent and honest man.’”

— The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him
on Twitter @talmaeena

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